Jennifer Hudson was born on September 12, 1981, in Chicago, IL to Samuel Simpson and Darnell Hudson Donerson. She was the youngest of three children. At the age of seven, Jennifer began singing in her local church choir in Chicago and doing community theater with the help of her maternal grandmother, Julia.
Jennifer was raised as a Baptist in Englewood and attended Dunbar Vocational High School, from which she graduated in 1999. According to her, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, and Patti LaBelle were her overall biggest influences and inspiration, and Mariah Carey was one of her musical “heroes.” She enrolled at Langston University but she left after a semester due to homesickness and unhappiness with the weather and registered at Kennedy–King College.
In January 2002, Jennifer signed her first recording contract with Righteous Records, a Chicago-based independent record label. She was released from her five-year contract with Righteous Records so that she could appear on American Idol in 2004.
Although Jennifer tried out for the American Idol show and made it. She even made it to the final 12 in 2004. However, Jennifer became the sixth of the 12 finalists to be voted off the show, finishing the competition in seventh place. But that didn’t stop Jennifer who developed mental strength and faith, persevered, and move on with life. This negative event actually marked the beginning of her success.
In November 2005, Jennifer was cast in the prized role of Effie White, the role originally created in a legendary Broadway performance by Jennifer Holliday, for the film adaptation of the musical Dreamgirls.
On February 25, 2007, Jennifer won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in this film. At 25 years old, Jennifer was already the eighth youngest winner of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She also became the third African-American to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. During her acceptance speech, Jennifer said through tears of joy, “I have to just take this moment in. I cannot believe this. Look what God can do. I didn’t think I was going to win.”
However, another tragedy struck On October 24, 2008. She found her 57-year-old mother and 29-year-old brother, Jason, shot to death inside their Chicago home. A few days later, the body of her nephew, Julian King, was found on Chicago’s West. An autopsy indicated King had died from “multiple gunshot wounds.”
Throughout her troubles, Jennifer stood strong. She developed mental strength and faith, which helped her to endure and overcome many obstacles that today, made her an inspiration to many people.
Here is the thing; life is not always going to be kind to you.
Just like Jennifer, you will have your period of unavoidable trials and difficulties that you have no option but to face. Horace Bushnell said, “The more difficulties one has to encounter, within and without, the more significant and the higher the inspiration his life will be.”
Because I was born in extreme poverty and suffered bad health for all my childhood, today whenever I speak to people, I often feel how powerful my words are. That’s what Bushnell said.
If you give up or succumb, then you are a failure and will have no story to tell.
Look at it this way. When you are trying to build a business, it isn’t a sprint. In fact, it is a marathon uphill with dust and heat, and those who succeed are not necessarily the strongest or fastest ones but those that were able to endure the ups and downs.
Whatever other things you’re doing in your life, don’t ever hope for an easy ride. Martin Luther King Jr said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”.
Jim Rohn who said, “Don’t expect life to be easier. Expect yourself to be stronger.”
Stop looking back.
Face front and face your fear.
Stay there. Hang there. Remain on the track.